The 1 Piece of Advice Prince Charles Gave Prince William When He Almost Dropped Out of College

Prince Charles had to step up when Prince William and Prince Harry lost their mother, Princess Diana, in a car accident back in 1997. Only four years later, William enrolled in college, and it was up to Charles to guide him through the trying time in his life. College, while loved by many, can be difficult for others.

William had broken barriers by attending University of St. Andrews in Scotland, but he wasn’t always happy there — and it was Prince Charles who helped him through the difficult time of nearly dropping out.

Prince Charles with his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry
Prince Charles with his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Charles made it a point to always be there for his sons

When Diana died, Charles wasn’t looked at as the most perfect prince. He’d been involved in a scandalous affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, which had caused a messy divorce between him and Diana. Plus, when Harry was born, Charles was reportedly angry that he and Diana hadn’t welcomed a girl. But once she died, he knew he was all his children had left.

These days, William and Harry have a very close relationship with Charles, though there has reportedly been some tension between Charles and Harry recently. Charles seems to love being a grandfather, too, and spends as much time with his grandkids as possible.

Prince Charles stepped up for his kids when Princess Diana died.

Related: Prince William’s College Experience Was Nothing Like We Thought: ‘He Could Walk Down the Street Without Being Bothered’

William once wanted to drop out of college

When William decided to attend University of St. Andrews, the public was shocked to hear the announcement. For the past 150 years, the heirs to the throne had attended schools such as Cambridge or Oxford, but William had grown fond of St. Andrews’ art history program. He was excited to attend and had even made an agreement with the press that he would be left alone while at school. It allowed him to feel like a normal kid.

Still, after one year, William wasn’t enjoying himself. He didn’t love his major, and the campus and surrounding area were small; William was feeling claustrophobic, and he wanted out.

William confided in Charles, who told him he’d gone through the same thing

William was just about ready to leave St. Andrews and never return. But then, he discussed his dislike for the school with Charles, who changed his mind. William was homesick and felt that St. Andrews was too far away; he also was not enjoying his courses.

Prince William poses outside of University of St. Andrews in 2003
Prince William poses outside of University of St. Andrews in 2003 | Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

Related: What Prince William Said the Moment He Found Out Kate Middleton Was Single in College

Prince Charles advised William to “give it another term,” according to royal biographer Katie Nicholl. Often, many first-year students want to leave, since adjusting to college can be difficult. But Charles was patient with William and worked alongside the deans at St. Andrews to get William to stay.

William’s experience improved upon changing his major

William decided that, rather than art history, he’d pursue a geography major. And from there, things became better. William adjusted to school by the end of the second semester, and that is, of course, when he and Kate Middleton started dating. Having a partner to go through college with certainly helped him as well.

William choosing to stay at St. Andrews is arguably the best decision he ever made. It allowed his relationship with Kate to get off the ground, and the two certainly lived their happily ever after.